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New Year: Time to take control of your career
Christmas is over and now you are very excited with what the New Year is going to bring. What bonus is around the corner and how much is all your hard work going to pay off this year. One question you may have is: what career plans should I make?
Getting a new job is an exciting but sometimes anxious time. January is the busiest time for those who want to kick start their careers, and take control of their future. To enhance this process you are encouraged to be productive and proactive.
It is important to follow a process. The average time for landing a new job in 2015 was as much as 12 weeks from initial job briefing to signing the contract. If you have a long notice period it can be longer. You will find the process takes longer than it seems. As a selection agency, we set up selection interviews, give feedback, manage expectations, negotiate contracts and guide candidates through to joining their new firm. However, 80% of a recruiter’s work is done before the CV arrives in a line manager’s inbox; it is important to understand that there is more to the process than meets the eye. Someone once said getting a new job is a full time job. Many organisations today have quite sophisticated selection processes, involving several interviews, psychometric testing and simulations. These all take time and you should not expect the process to be fast.
If you get to the final stage, it may seem as if the dream job is just round the corner. Sadly, offers can sometimes be reversed; jobs can be filled internally at the last minute or the job specification is changed or moved to a different office. Be prepared for all scenarios; sometimes it is a haphazard process, so be ready for the unexpected.
Getting ahead of the game
The war for talent, first identified by McKinsey in 1999, is now well and truly with us. Employers are seeking the genuine high performers and competition for the best jobs is fierce. Adaptation is going to be a key to your career progression in order to succeed. Conversely, some companies have a better “Employer Brand” than others; look for those that do, there is a reason why everyone wants to join them.
Day by day learning will differentiate you from the competition. Learning new skills will increase your worth. High performers research the employment market and understand what will gain them the edge. How are you going to pull ahead and leave the others to fall behind? Understanding what employers are looking for is essential.
Here are a few tips. Companies today seek:
- Those that can show demonstrable and measurable achievements; what is the list of measurable accomplishments you can list on your CV?
- Critical thinkers; how will you demonstrate this?
- Continuous learners, people who take charge of their learning, every day. What proof can you show that you are gaining new skills?
- Leaders whose actions drive client success. What evidence of this can you bring?
- Problem solvers: what logical systematic method for solving problems for clients do you use?
- 2 out of any group of 10 candidates are high performers. How will you show you are in the 20%?
Will your CV pass the 20 second test? If it is not interesting enough to prompt the reader to read on after 20 seconds it goes in the bin. Keep it short; the very best are 1-page. Tell a story about your career and show your achievements. List your career accomplishments rather than going through your skills and previous job duties. Looking through your CV ask yourself what positive difference you made for your employer in every role you had.
Longer term: Follow some simple steps to success.
Think about your life goals and your 5-15 year plan. High performer’s do this to differentiate themselves.
High Achievers reach their career goals by:
- Taking a close interest in life and the environment around them; they are curious
- Developing independence, resilience and self-reliance
- Setting goals that are realistic yet challenging
- Delaying satisfaction for a longer reward in the future
- Experimenting and learning from mistakes.
- Taking personal responsibility for their decisions.
- Being determined and persistent when completing every task, seeing it through to the end.
- Developing insight into how success is achieved for them and for their clients.
- Constantly improving their communications skills so that they engage others.
It is now your time to work smart, be challenged and creative.